Stuttering is a speech disorder that affects more than 3 million Americans. It is not uncommon for a child of age 2 and 5 to have stuttering as this is a very important phase for the children to develop their speech and language.
Sometimes stuttering is outgrown, but sometimes it can persist into adults. Whether this stuttering persists or not, you as a parent should always try to know about the basics of stuttering and what you need to do as a parent to help your child who is facing this.
What is stuttering?
Stuttering occurs when the normal flow of speech is interrupted by the child involuntarily repeat, prolong, or stop making no sound a certain sound. It is very common among children between ages 2 and 5 years. During this period most of the children are developing complex speech and language skills.
For a child of that age, it is a very complicated and difficult process. So, it is very common to stutter once or twice. Examples of such are “Mo-mo-mommy,” where the kid partly repeats the same word, ” b-b-b-ball,” where there are three or more repetitions per word, or “ssssssoup,” where the child prolongs the sound of a word. They also have a tendency where they totally avoid a word because they couldn’t pronounce it properly.
Types of stuttering:
There are several types of stuttering, but the most important ones for your children are listed below:
Development Stuttering: –
It is a very common kind of stuttering which usually happens to the growing kids of the age of 2 and 5 as they lag in their speech and language development. Many children also begin to experience stuttering when they start to learn complex grammatical configurations. This form of stuttering is usually temporary.
It usually happens when there is any sort of brain injury or a stroke. Due to difficulty of coordination among the speech muscles with the brain and spinal nerves. This is usually neurological. This is usually temporary as more than half of the children suffering from neurological reasons outgrown the problem as they have grown up and become a teenager.
Psychogenic stuttering: –
It usually occurs from emotional trauma or reasoning or thinking problems faced by the child. This is not common. It occurs if a child experiencing difficulty in talking has been embarrassed due to this inability. They become more resilient and afraid to talk.
Causes of stuttering:
- Firstly, you should not blame yourself for your child’s stuttering. It is not your fault.
- Doctors cannot tell the exact reason for stuttering. But developmental stuttering is very common among children.
- There are also suggestions made that the children’s emotional health is at times liable for the stuttering problem of the child. But this theory is not proven. But you should always provide your children with a very friendly environment to grow in.
How can you help your child as a parent?
The most prominent person for a child is his/her parents. Parents have a great responsibility for rearing the child and providing a safe environment for them to mature. So, for all those concerned parents, we have some tips given by experts in this field. Please go through every single one of them so that you can easily provide the immediate necessary facilities to your kids.
- It would be best if you always spoke with your children in a very relaxed manner while pausing frequently. You shouldn’t ask him/her a question and wish for an immediate answer. Rather you should wait for a few seconds for him to answer.
You should also wait for a few seconds after he/she stops speaking, then you should speak in a formed, slow and relaxed manner so that your kid can easily interpret what you are talking about and formulate an answer in his own manner. This process is way more effective than any other “criticism”. You need to advise him or her “to talk slowly” and “try it again slowly”.
- You should reduce the number of questions you ask your child and let your child express their own feeling and ideas freely. You can simply comment on what your child has to say, thereby letting them know that you heard them.
This approach is far better than asking any adultery question, which could perplex their mind, complicating the problem furthermore.
- It would be best if you used your own facial expression and body language to convey to your kid and try to be content with their content is rather than how he/she is talking about.
- This is one of the most important tips by far. As a parent, you should provide them with undivided attention at a specific time during the day. During this time, you should let your kid do whatever he/she wishes. You should let him take the lead and pave the way for doing various sorts of activities.
- He or she needs to get the freedom of when to talk and what to talk about. During this period, you should always try to talk in a very relaxed, calm, and slow manner with multiple pauses. This process helps build his/her confidence up and form an intimate bond with their parents and convey their feeling or emotions comfortably.
- All your family members should be cooperative in this manner. The children find it easier to talk to those family members who talk with fewer interruptions and are attentive to what the child is saying.
- You ought to give your child time and attention. But the real concern is if your child is receiving the message that you are listening to him/her. It would be best to decrease criticism, rapid speech patterns, interruptions, and questions.
- As a parent, you need to be accepted by your child. So always remember to support him; however, he/she is.
- Don’t let the child feel you are upset about his speech.
- Keep your child healthy, getting adequate sleep and proper nutrition, and follow a general routine schedule.
- Refrain from teaching tricks (deep breaths, finger-snapping, arms-waving) to avoid this inability rather than concentrate on facing it and getting rid of it.
- Don’t let your child avoid normal responsibilities. Use the same discipline as with any other child.
- Praise your child when she/he speaks well, but this should not be taken as praise for not stuttering; praise what she/he says, not how she/he says it.
- Help your child develop constructive work and hobby activities.
- Give positive feedback and reinforcement.
- Please do not push your child to speak on days when she/he is extremely disfluent.
At the end of the day, remember to love and support your child. Anything is possible if you provide for your child and also able to convey the message that you are always there for him/her and will support him no matter what happens.
Last but not least, if your child does not overcome stuttering events after reaching the age of 3/4 years, then you will have to take professional advice before it becomes too late. You need to be careful and always notice how much your child is progressing according to his/her age. Speech therapy and other professional care would make them recover from this problem in no time.